Sunday, September 2, 2012

Abbey Road on the River - Gaylord Resort, National Harbor - Aug 30-Sep 3

Abbey Road on the River - I'll offer a few highlights here, although I did not take in the amazing amount of Beatles tribute bands from all over the world (still going on through Labor Day). I believe every Beatles album was covered at the two large outdoor stages and a couple indoors. The facility was excellent and handled the volume quite well. I am guessing that there are plenty of out-of-town fans that go to these shows with the resort hotel facilities as well as vacationers taking in some bands with a day pass. But there are Beatles fans.

First up for me on the big stage for me was Britbeat a Chicago quartet where all four guys had English accents and the bass player played left handed. They finally got rid of leather coats late in the set as there was still plenty of daytime heat about. The sound was good on the big stage and I liked the 'George Harrison' guitar sound. They were playing the early works since this was the 50th Anniversary set. Not bad and well attended.

Jefferson Starship - It has only been 5 1/2 months since I last saw and reviewed this legendary band, and I was not expecting much to change. But there was a new guitarist as Slick Aguilar was to ill to make the trip. Singer Cathy Richardson's guitarist from her band the Macrodots filled in admirably. Actually, Jude Gold did a superb job handling the leads like he'd been there as long as Paul Kantner. Their sound was big and filled the open air quite well. My only gripe would be some odd early mixing of the vocals where Paul Kantner's smoky growl was much too high for even Cathy Richardson and David Freiberg to compete with. But this was fixed quickly enough and the two lead singers did their usual great job. The set was well attended by various Beatles fans and more than likely a few people that went out of their way to see this great band. Cathy Richardson who has done plenty of Joplin and Slick over the years got to show off her inner Joe Cocker in an encore featuring a lot of the Beatles bands' singers joining them onstage. Fun show on a nice cool late summer evening near the shore.

Set List: Volunteers - White Rabbit - Crown of Creation - Count on Me - Fresh Air -Wooden Ships - Find Your Way Back - Get Together - Miracles - Jane - The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil - Somebody to Love -- E: A Little Help from my Friends - E2: The Other Side of this Life

Beatle Jams with Cathy Richardson - Paul Kantner rested on Saturday, but about every other Starship trooper including David Freiberg got out for this set along with a couple of guests. Richardson and Freiberg shared many lead vocals with good versions of Get Back, Come Together and Helter Skelter. They also did things their own way like an old SF jam band tackling covers. The opener Eleanor Rigby was done in an old R&B/Blues style. With all the bands trying to nail Beatles versions to a 'T', this was a good set to break things up a bit. And even with minimal rehearsal, they did a nice job and went over very well.

Abbey Road Live - I stuck around to see this Athens, Georgia quartet play Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety, although I did sneak over to the other stage to see a Japanese Beatles Tribute band play some of the early material. But this Georgia band did not do things in a lazy fashion here, they had a string section and four horns to bring the album to life. They did well, although their vocal work was a bit soft at times. The highlight was a fantastic "Within You Without You" where they played a killer sitar and tabla. They then took a break before they were performing the Abbey Road album later in the festival.

I am not sure I could have handled a full long weekend of this, but it was well run and good fun if you found the sets that worked for you. And it is apparently put on a couple times a year in Louisville, KY and here. They know what they are doing and draw a pretty good mix of an audience, too.


Anonymous said...

The guests on the Cathy Richardson Beatle Jam were Michael Barrett (acoustic guitar and backing vocals) from the California-based Sun Kings and Andrew Ratliff (percussion and backing vocals) from DC-based the Apple Core.

Anonymous said...

I went Saturday (my second year) - It ended with a rather violent thunderstorm. Lucky that there is a giant hotel to take cover in. The look-alike group from Puerto Rico "The Jukebox" were my favorite this year. My least favorite was one of the the "company function" generic oldies bands — Davis

David Hintz said...

Thanks for full credits.

And thanks for your take, Davis. There were a lot of different takes in this odd, but amazing array of bands. There were some real duds like you mention. Hearing some band cover 'Hotel California' as I walk into this Festival, is not the Beatles themed greeting I had in mind.